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Can We Really Know God?

Robert C Newman
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Does God Exist?
 For many today, the question of God's
existence is an abstract philosophical
problem with little relevance for everyday
life.
 For others, it's a matter so confused by the
variety of religions out there that they give
up trying to find the right one, or figure
they can pick whichever one they prefer.
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All these responses are foolish
 If God exists, it makes all the difference in
the world what life is about.
 If God really exists, we can't just pick the
religion we like; they teach different,
inconsistent things.
 If God really exists, it is possible that the
confusion about what he is like is not his
doing, but the result of wishful thinking &
intentional deception.
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We Can Know God Exists
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We Can Know God Exists
We have evidence for this from:
 General Revelation
 God's revealing himself in nature and
conscience
 Special Revelation
 God's revealing himself in the Bible
 Redemption
 God's revealing himself in history
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General Revelation
God has revealed himself in the origin and the
nature of the universe.
 Origin – cosmology in the 20
th
century was an
ever more frantic attempt to avoid a beginning in
the face of ever mounting evidence.
 Nature – the increasing evidence for 'fine-tuning'
in the universe has led atheists to postulate a
larger & larger number of universes to make this
likely by chance.
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General Revelation
 The origin of life has become a nightmare
for those who wish to think it happened by
chance.
 The complex functionality of life at all
levels is far beyond what we have any
evidence that chance is capable of.
 Humans, though physically rather similar
to the apes, are far beyond them in the
mental & spiritual realms.
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Special Revelation
The Bible is unique among the scriptures of
the world’s religions in its:
 Pre-knowledge of science
 Fulfilled prophecy
 Jesus
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Pre-Knowledge of Science
 The creation account of Genesis is
consistent with the best evidence of
cosmology and planetology.
 The Bible's picture of the heavens and the
earth is impressive in the light of modern
science.
 The biblical material on handling diseases
far outstrips that of other ancient writings.
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Fulfilled Prophecy
The Bible gives us considerable information
on the future of:
 The surrounding nations
 Israel
 Israel's Messiah
Much of this predictive material has already
come to pass.
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Jesus
In particular, the material about Jesus is
most impressive:
 Predictions about his ministry, death &
resurrection
 Historical evidence of his actual ministry,
teachings, death & resurrection.
 His impact on history.
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Redemption
God has acted in human history.
 This shows up in the history of the nation
Israel, in the history of the other nations
around Israel, and in the history of the
movement called Christianity.
 It also shows up in the changed lives and
changed societies that have resulted from
the coming and work of Jesus.
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But God Does Not Guarantee
Special Appearances
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Stay Away from the Occult
 The occult (magic, divination) is our
human attempt to control or manipulate
the supernatural world to advance our
agendas.
 God does not like this, and it will only
result in wicked supernatural beings
controlling or manipulating us.
 Instead God has chosen to send prophets
who wrote the Bible for our benefit.
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Deuteronomy 18
Deut 18:9-20 (NIV) When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving
you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let
no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire,
who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because
of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations
before you… 15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me
from among your own brothers. You must listen to him… 18 I will raise up for
them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his
mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does
not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call
him to account. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name
anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the
name of other gods, must be put to death.
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Matthew 5
Matt 5:3 (NIV) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who
mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the
meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be
filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown
mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see
God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be
called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are
persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
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John 14
John 14:1-9 (NIV) "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God;
trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were
not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place
for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back
and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4
You know the way to the place where I am going." 5 Thomas said
to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we
know the way?" 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth
and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If
you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now
on, you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said, "Lord,
show us the Father and that will be enough for us." 9 Jesus
answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been
among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen
the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?"
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We Cannot Know God as
Friend if We Remain His
Enemies
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Knowing God as Friend
 As long as we want to live our own lives,
pursue our own agenda, we are really
rebels against God, no matter how pious
our words.
 God's two prime commands:
 Love God w/ everything we are & have.
 Love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
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The Love Commands
Matt 22:35 (NIV) One of them, an expert in the law,
tested him with this question:
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in
the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul and with all your
mind.' {Deut. 6:5}
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' “ {Lev. 19:18}
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Let us not deceive ourselves
 By walking in darkness
 1 John 1:5-7
 By disobeying God’s commands
 1 John 2:3-6
 By hating others
 1 John 2:9-11
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Walking in Darkness
1John 1:5-7 (NIV) This is the message we
have heard from him and declare to you: God
is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet
walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by
the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from
all sin.
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Disobeying God’s Commands
1John 2:3-6 (NIV) We know that we have
come to know him if we obey his commands.
4 The man who says, "I know him," but does
not do what he commands is a liar, and the
truth is not in him.
5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is
truly made complete in him. This is how we
know we are in him:
6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as
Jesus did.
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Hating Others
1Joh 2:9 (NIV) Anyone who claims to be in
the light but hates his brother is still in the
darkness.
10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the
light, and there is nothing in him to make him
stumble.
11 But whoever hates his brother is in the
darkness and walks around in the darkness;
he does not know where he is going,
because the darkness has blinded him.
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Knowing God Personally
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Knowing God Personally
We can know God personally (though not
exhaustively) through the provisions He
has made:
 His Word
 His Spirit
 Prayer
 Modeling by other Christians
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His Word
 We can know God through His Word.
 His Word (the Bible) is His most detailed
revelation of Himself.
 If we read and study the Bible, we can
learn a great deal about Him.
 Many people have found it helpful to try to
read through the Bible once a year.
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His Spirit
 We can know God personally through His
Holy Spirit.
 The Holy Spirit is the Bible’s term for God
as he indwells His creation, especially
those who are trusting in Him.
 The Holy Spirit teaches believers to love
the right things, to hate evil in themselves
as well as outside, i.e., to have God’s
attitude toward reality.
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Prayer
 Prayer is not just talking to ourselves, or
telling God what He doesn't know, or
giving Him advice on how to run the
universe.
 When we pray according to God's Word,
we begin to see God working around us.
 He encourages us with answers to prayer,
and we begin to want what He wants.
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Modeling by Other Christians
 Through fellowship with other believers,
we begin to see God's character lived out
(imperfectly) in human lives.
 We begin to see small-scale, imperfect
replicas of what Jesus is like.
 In community with other believers, we are
able to encourage one another to love and
good deeds, and to hold each other
mutually accountable.
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We Can Know God!
May God help you to know Him
really & truly!
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